For the numerous men of the Suffolk Regiment held in PoW camps, the arrival of the festive season brought mixed emotions.
In Droitz PoW camp, No. 8699, Private Basil Dawes, was engaged in getting ready the Christmas pantomine entitled "Bombs and Bunkum."
For Basil who had been captured at Le Cateau with 2nd Suffolk nearly two-and-a-half years earlier, the farce of waring suffragettes armed with flaming bombs and policemen in novelty trousers was a welocme relief to the tedium of captivity.
Not many miles away from Droitz at Doeberitz, Basil's brother Donald, was also captured at Le Cateau
For Don, the Christmas panto at Doeberitz was something quite different to the comic farce at Droitz.
Doeberitz were staging a celebration of the greatness of Britain and her Empire. The production featured just about every great Englishman from history and his victories be they against enemy or now ally.
Nelson, John Bull, the Duke of Wellington were to name but a few, but there were also India maharaja's and Canadian Red Indians signifying the Empire across the seas. Costumes were manufactured to represent every slice of English society; Pearly Kings and Queens, a street-corner organ grinder (complete with monkey!), Henry the Eighth with just one wife (Anne of Cleves we suppose?), a court jester, clowns, a chimney sweep with blackened face and brushes, and a token village idiot, complete with smock and straw hat.
Then there was the sublime: Cowboys and Indians, Uncle Sam, George Washington, Little Red Riding Hood, a Knight in shining armour complete with a tabbard bearing the Cross of St. George and a jousting pole, and of course, Father Christmas. Perhaps the finest costumes of the cast belonged to the pair of singers who appeared in the final scene.
A finely-attired gent about town and his lady friend, dressed in matching outfits of an unusual design. His suit and hat and her dress, were finely constructed from the paper packets of hundreds of Wills 'Woodbine' cigarettes. Carefully kept, disected, spliced open and glued together, it too many months of hard smoking and painstaking work to amass and collate the necessary quantities required. The pantomine was a success with its loud sing-a-long's and stupid antics, but it gave a welcome relief to the boredom of captivity.
Though they were happy and relatively safe behind the wire, these caged birds like many men at the front, wondered whether it would soon be over in the New Year?
Welcome to our online 'blog' charting the history of the many Battalions of the Suffolk Regiment and the part they played in the Great War.
Starting back in March 2014, we have recorded the events of 100 years ago on the centenary of their happening.
Keep checking back to see how the Great War is progressing for the men of the Suffolk Regiment.